Legal Ethics

Michael Tigar once remarked, “Since there are house counsels for large corporate interests skirting the edges of the antitrust laws, why shouldn’t there be lawyers talking with people skirting the edges of disorderly conduct laws?”. Perhaps his sense of the need for such lawyers partly explains his pursuit of cases that “involved the so-called ‘unpopular’ client – the outsider.”

Throughout his legal career, Tigar has commented on ethical dilemmas faced by members of the legal profession, as well as their obligations, with a specific focus on the important role that criminal defense lawyers play in checking the government’s prosecutorial power. He has also advanced the idea that lawyers, in addition to operating within the legal system, are ethically permitted—if not required—to help reform that system to achieve justice for all.

This section includes lectures, essays, and articles by Tigar that delve into different aspects of the professional ethical obligations of lawyers. Many call attention to the critical role that attorneys play in ensuring the exercise of every criminal defendant’s constitutional rights. One article considers that role in the context of his defense of Terry Nichols.

This section also includes items commenting on the business aspects of the profession. One such item, “The Lawyer Who Broke the Retaining Wall” is an article written under a pseudonym in the form of a short story.

Also included here is a recording of Tigar’s United States Supreme Court oral argument in the 1991 case Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada. In that case, Tigar successfully argued that ABA Model Rule 3.6, which limited an attorney’s right to communicate publicly about a case, was unconstitutionally vague.

24 archive items found.

Preview Type Title Year
Oral History Achieving Social Change

Oral History Choosing Cases

Oral History Cause Lawyer vs. Client Lawyer

Oral History All Trials are Didactic

Oral History Advice to Law Students

Journal Articles Gerry Uelmen’s Article: “Who is the Lawyer of the Century?”

Newspaper Articles Profile From Austin American Statesman, 1985

Magazine Articles Potomac Magazine (Washington Post Publication) Article

Newspaper Articles Article About Michael Tigar Speech

Audio & Video Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada

Essays Respecting Atticus Finch and Scout

Essays Ways of Seeing, Ways of Judging

Journal Articles Crisis in the Legal Profession: Don’t Mourn, Organize

Lectures Litigators’ Ethics

Journal Articles What Lawyers? What Edge?

Essays The Most Impertinent Question

Book Chapter The City Upon the Hill, in Book Raise the Bar: Real World Solutions for a Troubled Profession

Book Review Lawyers and Social Justice

Journal Articles Defending: An Essay

Essays 2020 Vision: A Bifocal View

Essays The Lawyer Who Broke the Retaining Wall

Journal Articles Lawyers, Money, Race, and Gender

Book Review Frontiers Of Civil Liberties

Essays Lawyers’ Role in Resistance